If you know ten families with children, then it is more than probable that at least one of those families has a child with special needs.
What makes them exceptional may not be “obvious”, such as in the case of cerebral palsy, but a hidden disorder that may go unnoticed until kindergarten or later.
In fact, one of the most pervasive disorders that impacts children of school age is SLD– Specific Learning Disabilities.
Some may consider SLD as an overgeneralization and call it “dyslexia”. But in truth, SLD is a bit more complicated than that!
Children with SLD manage very well on the playground, but it is at home during homework time or in school, where you start see the confident child unravel.
How to identify a child in your family with SLD? Diagnosis of a learning disorder is complex and often multi-tiered. Schools will try to implement RTI which means Response to Intervention programs. Here techniques and modifications may be used in the classroom to help bolster a child’s skill, including if there is a problem with attending or organization.
If after a considerable time and intervention little to no change is noticed, then a referral for a psycho-educational assessment is usually warranted and conducted.
What happens if a child is found to have an assessment profile indicative of SLD? Then the multi-disciplinary team that also includes the parents, will come out with a plan of action. Sometimes it is to implement monitoring and modifications based on results while other students may require more intensive programming.
So, when your child has a play-date and you notice his one friend is more of an “outdoors” kid versus a sit and play a board game type- you may have a “1 in 10” child in your midst. As preferring motoric play to games that involve reading or math skills may not be favored by the child with a learning disorder.
And, if you think your child may be struggling more than his/her peers in school , don’t hesitate to ask for a team meeting to try to figure our a solution.
About the author:
Louise Sattler is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, owner of SIGNING FAMILIES, Disaster preparedness specialist and social media expert. Please connect with her via SIGNING FAMILIES or 411 VOICES.